Author: Kurt Helin

Indiana Pacers Media Day 2014

Pacers’ Paul George on court taking shots after practice (VIDEO)


It was just back in July that Paul George suffered a horrific injury fracturing his tibia and fibia on national television as part of a Team USA scrimmage in Las Vegas.

He had surgery and was in a walking boot until a couple weeks ago, but as of Monday he is back on the court taking shots — and moving pretty well, as Scott Agness of showed us. He’s not anywhere near coming back, but that’s a pretty impressive recovery so far.

It’s been assumed that Paul will miss the entire season for the Pacers, but he is pushing to get back sometime in the second half. It will be interesting to see how the Pacers deal with that — if they are well out of the playoffs in the East (as I and others expect they will be, they will have a bottom five offense in the league) why let him push it? The Pacers have their pick this season, why not get better lottery odds and come back next season with George and whoever that fresh young face will be? Why push a recovery to win some meaningless games at the end of the regular season?

But that’s not how George sees it — he wants to get back. And he’s clearly making progress.

Dikembe Mutombo among group trying to buy Atlanta Hawks

2014 Concordia Summit - Day 1

Dominique Wilkins has his guys and wants to be in.

Chris Webber has his guys and wants to be in.

Now Dikembe Mutombo is rounding up his guys and wants to get in on buying the Atlanta Hawks. The team is up for sale — Bruce Levenson is getting out in the wake of a bigoted email controversy, and along with other owners is putting up a majority stake in the franchise — and a whole lot of bidders are lining up to pay a whole lot of money for the team.

Mutombo is among them, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Former Hawks player Dikembe Mutombo has met with a group of investors about joining their bid to buy the Atlanta Hawks.

The group, which is made up in part of Atlanta businessmen, has begun the preliminary work to get involved in the sale of the team. Talks are ongoing. The group may also consist of other former NBA players. They hope to meet with the NBA commissioner’s office in the near future.

There are reportedly a number of interested groups.

All the big names are nice to see, but of course this is all going to come down to who bids the most money. This sale price will not approach the $2 billion Steve Ballmer overpaid for the Clippers, but Levenson and friends are going to get handsomely paid.

Once a new ownership group is selected they will have to go through a vetting process with the league followed by an approval vote of the others owners. Then those new owners will have a lot of questions to deal with, starting with what to do with exiled GM Danny Ferry, who had his own bigoted comment controversy around him.

Blake Griffin, Chris Paul to have their own sketch comedy show (VIDEO)

Los Angeles Clippers Media Day

If you want to know why players are still drawn to the opportunities of playing in Los Angeles, allow me to present Exhibit A:

Clippers’ Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are about to have their own comedy show. Which you can watch on Adult Swim. Above is the trailer, below are the details via Jasmine Watkins of The Sporting News.

The two Jordan brand athletes will be starring in a five-minute show during commercial time on Adult Swim called “BGCP3TV in HD” co-created by comedian Neal Brennan….

“The funny thing is it doesn’t really feel like acting,” said Griffin. “This is pretty much just us being us, but in some pretty crazy situations that Neal Brennan came up with.”

Griffin has a fairly impressive comedy background, and I’ll confirm first hand Chris Paul can be funny.

Their own show…. not going to be the worst thing on late at night.

LeBron James: “(The Bulls) are a team that’s much better than us right now just off chemistry”

Dallas Mavericks v Cleveland Cavaliers

Don’t we all just want to fast forward to the Bulls vs. Cavaliers Eastern Conference Finals?

That showdown will be epic. The long NBA season has a way of surprising us, but with just more than a week until it tips-off officially it seems clear that Cleveland and Chicago are the cream of the crop in the East. Those two teams face off for the first time Monday, albeit in a meaningless preseason game (but at least one where both coaches have said they plan to run more of their regular rotations out there).

Who will win that matchup come May? Way too early to say.

But right now the Chicago Bulls are the better team. That’s not me saying it, that’s LeBron James saying the Bulls are better today, as reported by Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group.

“We haven’t done anything right now. They’re a team that’s much better than us right now just off chemistry. They’ve been together for a while. The system has been there for a while. So, we have a long way to go.”

He’s right.

The Bulls have their identity, honed through years of Tom Thibodeau yelling at them. They play tough defense, they are physical, and they have the athletes who can score in the halfcourt. This season with Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah they may have the best passing front line in the league, they have Derrick Rose and his slashing game (if he stays healthy). The Bulls know who they are and what they want to be.

The Cavaliers are figuring all that out.

Cleveland has a new coach with a new system, plus new players in LeBron and Kevin Love who are going to get a lot of touches and bend the offense their way. Much like when LeBron joined Miami with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade — where it took them really a season and a half to find their groove — it’s going to take the Cavaliers time to find out what really works.

The question is will Cleveland have figured it out enough by May to beat the Bulls? And if so, beyond that can they beat the best of the West in seven games? They’ve got time to be better than Chicago, but also a lot of work to do to reach that goal.

Lance Stephenson already flopping like it’s a playoff game (VINE)

Charlotte Hornets v Chicago Bulls

Lance Stephenson is a flopper. He’s been fined. More than once.

When Stephenson brought his game to Charlotte this season, he clearly brought the flopping with him, as you can see from this VINE from Sunday night’s game against the Bulls (hat tip Bleacher Report).

There is contact here, Kirk Hinrich bumps Stephenson from behind, but as you see in this video Stephenson hesitates just half a second then embellishes the contact trying to draw the foul.  Hornets fans, you’ll see a fair amount of this during the season.